Mountaineering Training | Core Strength Training

Posted by: | October 29, 2012
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

The question of how to build strength for mountaineering can be answered in many ways. First, consider what kind of strength is needed when climbing. We need strength in our legs to carry ourselves up and down the mountain; we need strength in our back and shoulders to carry our backpack over uneven and variable surfaces; we need general body strength to tackle the everyday tasks such as setting up camp, digging tent platforms, or even to use an ice axe to arrest a fall. This strength can best be described as overall core strength.
 
One way to think of core strength is to consider our body’s ability to move functionally through a wide range of motion in a variety of directions with and without resistance. Many activities will develop this, ranging from certain gym classes and circuit training, to activities like dance, yoga, and weight training. These are all activities that can be done for a few minutes a day or for an hour or two several times a week. If you have an activity that meets all of these goals, I encourage you to continue to use it.  
 
If you are looking for an all-around core strength activity that you can do anywhere, then look no further than the Daily Dozen. This workout can be done anywhere and with no equipment; you can even do it in your pj’s in the kitchen while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew! The Daily Dozen is a key workout of my book Fit By Nature and I use it routinely in my training sessions around Seattle. As a special resource for the readers of RMI’s Weekly Mountaineering Training Series, you can download an excerpt from Fit By Nature that gives a detailed description of the Daily Dozen with accompanying photographs:  
 
Download the Daily Dozen Description here.
 
Often, the question comes up: “Is twelve minutes of training sufficient?”  In reality, if you do 12 minutes each day, it adds up to almost an hour and a half per week of core strength training. However, if you prefer to make it a longer workout, you can simply run through the Daily Dozen two or three times. You can even combine it with other exercises to make it an all-around workout. For instance, in between each exercise, you can walk a set of stairs or do a short run.  
 
What is important is to make your core strength training work for you. Remember the key concepts of moderation and consistency; this means that it’s better to train more often at a moderate intensity than it is to try and do all of your strength training in one big session once a week.
 
- John Colver
 
                      
John Colver is a longtime climber, former mountain guide, and certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. Colver introduced outdoor fitness classes to athletic clubs throughout the greater Puget Sound region before creating his adventX brand. Currently, adventX leads training programs in Seattle and Colver presents clinics on outdoor fitness at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, the American Lung Association, and REI. Colver lives in Seattle.

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